Prime Minister Narender Modi launched Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) amid much fanfare to skill the masses and provide them with jobs. However, an Indian Express report says that the Prime Minister is falling way short of goals he had set for himself.
The report says that data available till the first week of July 2017 shows that from a total of nearly 3 million individuals trained, or undergoing training, less than 10% had received placement offers. This number stood at an underwhelming 2.9 lakh. This isn’t the first time that the government’s scheme is hitting troubled waters. After falling short of targets in the initial years and concerns of quality of training and skilling coming up frequently, the PMKVY was re-launched in October 2016, with the aim of providing skilling 10 million people over four years (2016-2020) and with placement tracking made mandatory. However issues of “lack of quality training and information asymmetry regarding the demand-supply dynamics of skilled candidates” still persist, says the report.
The report says that a massive and detailed ‘data-crunching’ exercise to understand the demand-supply conditions in each district is underway to improve the scheme.
A senior official has been quoted in the report, “PMKVY is not the answer to India’s problems. You can’t do too much about quality, location etc in the short term. We will be able to rejig much of it and make it more purposeful with a district-level action plan with good quality information. A district-level skill development action plan can be prepared in three months. It can be prepared for 100 districts in one go and the money can be handed over to the state governments and districts... The government should be generating data to find out that where the requirement for say, plumbers is, and where they are coming from... The core of the government’s focus should be this kind of work and making this data available.”
The good news is that the government has realised this shortcoming and is willing to eradicate it. The focus, going ahead, is on increasing state participation, involving district collectors, and better monitoring. The plan is to keep the implementation agency for PMKVY, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), away from implementation of the proposed district-level plan. “NSDC can help with capacity creation and serious technical assistance. It can be part of preparation of district-level plans. NSDC’s responsibility is something else, not schemes,” the official said. Furthermore, industry involvement, one of the weakest points of the scheme, will also be given due attention.
The development has evoked strong reactions from political groups as well as business leaders. Many are quick to remind Mr. Modi of the promise of 1 crore jobs made when he was campaigning for the top job in the country. People Matters had previously reported that the present government’s skilling and employment generation schemes are struggling to give results. If the Prime Minister is not able to balance these two aspects with the several other economic policies that shaping India’s current growth trajectory, he might not be able to allay fears in time for the 2019 general elections. Policy disruptions have already made economy growth plummet, and it will take a masterful balancing act for the government to expedite recovery and job creations. All eyes are on Mr. Modi and Mr. Jaitley now.